vSphere 6 Lab Upgrade – Upgrading ESXi 5.5

vsphere logoI tested vSphere 6 quite intensively when it was in beta, but I didn’t ever upgrade my lab – basically because I need a stable environment to work on and I wasn’t sure that I could maintain that with the beta.

Now 6 has been GA a while and I have a little bit of time, I have begun the lab upgrade process. You can see a bit more about my lab hardware over on my lab page.

Checking for driver compatibility

In vSphere 5.5, VMware dropped the drivers for quite a few consumer grade NICs – in 6 they’ve gone a step further and actually blocked quite a few of these using a VIB package. For more information, see this excellent article by Andreas Peetz.

To list the NIC drivers you’re using on your ESXi hosts, use the following command:

esxcli network nic list | awk ‘{print $1}’|grep [0-9]|while read a;do ethtool -i $a;done


As you can see from the results, my HP N54Ls are running 3 NICs, a Broadcom onboard and two Intel PCI NICs. Fortunately the Broadcom chip is supported and the e1000e driver I’m using is compatible with vSphere 6 and is in fact superseded by a native driver package. (more…)